Saturday, February 25, 2017

Cleveland-Cliffs/AK Steel/Severstal/Ford River Rouge Steel Plant


(Update: Rouge River Auto Plant)

Henry Ford believed in "vertical integration." That means, he not only made cars, he made the things that made cars like steel. He even had his own railroad. I believe it was Detroit, Toledo & Ironton. 

Robert Preis shared a photo posted by the Detroit Historical Society
On May 17, 1920, the blast furnaces at the Ford Rouge Plant were fired up for the first time. Iron from the furnaces was transported directly to the foundry, where it was poured into molds to make engine blocks, cylinder heads, intake and exhaust manifolds, and other automotive parts for the Model T (which was still assembled in Highland Park).
Gary Giannini: Is it true that before this Henry Ford would only get his steel from OH#5 in Homestead PA?

John Abbott posted
River Rouge Ford Plant 1927
Robert Hagar I use to work there.
Straight ahead would be where the BOF (Basic Oxygen Furnace) and mold room will be built.
To the very hard right is Gate 1. 
This is where the big water tower would stand. 
This was torn down after the Russian steel co. took over the steel operations.
The highline was to the right bank of the channel where they unloaded the ships. (The highline was an elevated railroad where they unloaded the coalcars from the bottom.) 
The coke batteries were to the lower right of the picture.
The road to the right which would lead to Gate 1 leads to the building I first worked in.
The EE bldg. It is hard to tell but may be in the picture.
I also worked in the BOF mold room.
Robert Hagar The buldings to the left were assembly buildings and when I worked at the mold room I would walk through them.
Some were abandoned but others were in use.
The metal shop was over there and they would do all kinds of sheetmetal work.
 
Alan Etoll posted
Dearborn Works BF.
James Torgeson posted
The Cliffs Dearborn Works blast furnaces in a photo by Alan Etoll.
John McDowell: Ashland Kentucky's replacement
 
William Opper posted
C furnace. B furnace is gone and the whole top of A furnace has been removed. The stoves for them are still there.

Robert Preis posted
Ford Rouge - July 1969
Looking from Left to Right - you can see the stacks of the Dearborn Speciality Foundry, the BOF, the East Side Coke Oven Gas Holder, the framework of one of the Ore Bridges, and the Coke Ovens Smokestack & Transfer Tower
Picture copied from Michigan Railfans site. Sam Foster - original image from the Gulash Collection
Still in business as a Cleveland Cliffs facility. Coke Ovens are long gone, they’re down to one Blast Furnace & one Ore Bridge, and the Spec Foundry was torn down in the early 80’s to build a Continuous Caster.
Wade Klaffer: And to the far right is the powerhouse that blew up in 1999

Derrick Jasper commented on Robert's post
Robert Preis: Derrick Jasper to my knowledge there was never a sign on that larger westside gas holder. I don’t think the sign was on the Eastside one until long after the Westside one was gone. Mid 60’s seems to be when the large lighted sign went up. I’ve heard the larger one was 4x the size of the smaller one. It doesn’t seem, at least in the pictures that I’ve seen, that the larger one was there too long, maybe around 15 years give or take? Somewhere I found a timeline that had info on when it was put up & came down, but I’d have to do a lot of digging to find it.

Rebert Preis commented on Derrick's comment

Mike Delaney posted
Ford Motor Company Rouge plant 1958

Mide Delaney posted three images with the comment: "Ford Motor Company Rouge plant.  Photo shows Henry Ford and son Edsel with scale model of rouge plant."
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Bob O'Donnell
In 1915, Henry Ford built the first Ford Motor Co. plant on the banks of the Rouge River in Dearborn, Mich. The site quickly grew to become one of the largest integrated manufacturing complexes in the world.
The inbound transportation of raw materials and supplies by barge was part of Ford’s initial plans for the project. By 1923, however, the scale of the complex’s demand for raw materials for steel making required Ford to begin acquiring his own fleet of ships.
The first two vessels in the fleet were the bulk carriers, Henry Ford II (1924-1989), and the Benson Ford (1924-1982). Named for Ford’s grandsons, both ships were built at the Great Lakes Engineering Works shipyard at Rouge River, Mich.
Also, during this time, Ford purchased 200 surplus World War I merchant vessels from the U.S. government. Most of these ships were scrapped for the steel furnaces at Rouge River, but 22 were converted for use as barges, canallers, and ocean-going freighters to serve Ford Motor Co.’s export plants on the U.S. East Coast.
The Ford Motor Co.’s fleet operation grew so rapidly that, by 1925, it was necessary to establish a Marine Department within the company. At the start of World War II, automobile manufacturing came to a standstill. The Ford fleet carried less raw materials and fewer finished parts to Ford factories forcing the company to place more emphasis on non-Ford cargoes.
By June 1942, however, almost the entire Ford fleet had been acquired by the United States government for wartime service. After the war, several of those vessels returned to the Great Lakes and the Ford fleet.
In 1953, Ford Motor Co. had the 629-foot bulk freighter, William Clay Ford built at the Great Lakes Engineering Work in Rouge River. In 1966, it acquired the 630-foot bulk freighter John Dykstra (ex-Joseph S. Wood, ex-Richard D. Marshall).
In 1982, Ford converted its steel making operation at the Rouge manufacturing complex into a wholly owned subsidiary, the Rouge Steel Co. That same year, the Benson Ford was sold for scrap and the John Dykstra was renamed the Benson Ford (II).
In 1985, Rouge Steel Co. acquired the 767-foot freighter Edward B. Greene. It was renamed the Benson Ford (III) in 1986 after the Benson Ford (II) had been sold for scrap. That same year, the William Clay Ford was also sold for scrap and its pilothouse was removed to become part of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in Detroit.
Also in 1986, Rouge Steel acquired the Walter A. Sterling (ex-Chiwawa) and renamed it the William Clay Ford (II). In 1989, after the company was acquired by Marico Acquisitions Corp., the Benson Ford (III) and the Henry Ford II were sold to the Lakes Shipping Co. That same year, the William Clay Ford (II) was sold to the Interlake Steamship Co. and renamed the Lee A. Tregurtha.

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Raymond Boothe posted
Cliffs Steel-Dearborn: this is a view of Cliffs Steel C Blast Furnace at its Dearborn Works. Originally built by Serverstal and acquired vt AK Steel this furnace is currently the newest blast furnace in the United States (unkn/Dr. Raymond Boothe collection).
John Groves: Dearborn plant, originally Ford Motor Co., then Rouge Steel, then Severstal from 2004, then acquired by AK Steel 2014, then Cleveland Cliffs 2020.
No.C BF built 1948 (8.4m), completely rebuilt 2007 ($350M). Severstal then rated the furnace at 6000 to 6200 tpd.
Now 9.2m, 1797 cu.m. wv, producing 5000 to 5750 tpd over past decade.

Aaron Payne posted, cropped
Little Burp outta Henry Fords B
Furnace just before we moved over to C Furnace to tare it down and rebuilt it for them! 97 days from demo to a full rebuild 2007
Graham Whitfield
+2
My late Father worked on Blast Furnaces for 46 years, he used to describe this as a ‘Slip.’
When the built up Burden (Coke, iron ore, limestone) suddenly drops into the melting zone of the Furnace.
Usually when the Furnace lining is getting worn.
Flames shoot out of the top of the Furnace and night becomes day.
If the Furnace is Casting molten Iron spews out all over the Cast House floor at pressure.
Blast Furnace front side crew were a ‘special breed’ of men.
 
Wade Klaffer posted
Cast house floor at Ford rouge
[There are several interesting comments including terminology for those "gates."]

Wade commented on his post
[Note the handles on those "gates" are not very long. So the worker had to stand rather close to the molten iron flow to work them. And that image is old enough that he is not wearing any PPE except for long sleeves.]

I added the "energyGas" label because of the gasometers in these photos.
Wade Klaffer posted, cropped
Aerial shot above the rouge river in the 60’s

Aaron Payne posted, cropped
Little Burp outta Henry Fords B
Furnace just before we moved over to C Furnace to tare it down and rebuilt it for them! 97 days from demo to a full rebuild 2007
Graham Whitfield
+2
My late Father worked on Blast Furnaces for 46 years, he used to describe this as a ‘Slip.’
When the built up Burden (Coke, iron ore, limestone) suddenly drops into the melting zone of the Furnace.
Usually when the Furnace lining is getting worn.
Flames shoot out of the top of the Furnace and night becomes day.
If the Furnace is Casting molten Iron spews out all over the Cast House floor at pressure.
Blast Furnace front side crew were a ‘special breed’ of men.
 
Wade Klaffer posted
Cast house floor at Ford rouge
[There are several interesting comments including terminology for those "gates."]

Wade commented on his post
[Note the handles on those "gates" are not very long. So the worker had to stand rather close to the molten iron flow to work them. And that image is old enough that he is not wearing any PPE except for long sleeves.]

I added the "energyGas" label because of the gasometers in these photos.
Wade Klaffer posted, cropped
Aerial shot above the rouge river in the 60’s

Derrick Gow posted three photos with the comment: "Rouge Steel B Furnace 2001."
A Tuyere blew out. Iron and hot coke made it to the Natural Gas Injection station.
[According to some comments, they had another accident a few years later (2007?) that "blew the dome off." That accident shut down B Furnace B partially because C Furnace had been built and was bigger than A+B.]
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Mike Benedict
 Was the furnace full and the furnace was casting itself through the tuyere. It seems like Servestal had lots of safety problems. 
I have seen where a cast was delayed for one reason or another and instead of decreasing wind, they just waited. When the furnace gets to a level where you cannot cut the wind. At full wind the furnace burden is floating or being blown upward and when the wind is cut, the burden slips down and overflows the level of the tuyeres and the furnace starts casting out of a tuyere or several tuyeres. What a mess and hope no one is hurt. It is like having a glass of water and ice at the very brim and you push down the ice, like cutting the wind and the ice will make the glass over flow. Same thing with a blast furnace.
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Elvin Howland posted five pictures of the steel operation, each with their own comment.
1:  To All: Newly poured slabs ready for the rolling mill in the Ford Rouge Steel Plant. Taken in the 1970's. Photo by Elvin Howland.
2:  To All: A bottle car being filled with molten steel in the Rord Rouge Steel Plant. It was raining that day. Photo by Elvin Howland.
3:  To All: The quench tower being used to cool down a hopper load of coke in the Ford Rouge Steel Plant. Taken in the 1970's. Photo by Elvin Howland.
4:  Ditto. Photo by Elvin Howland.

5:  To All: A Ford Switcher pulling a mill gondola in the Ford Rouge Steel Plant. Taken in the 1970's. Photo by Elvin Howland. I worked under contract for Ford Motor Co. to clean their directional signs and the Ford oval sign on the coke tower. This sign was 200 feet off the ground and was 90 feet long by 35 feet high. While up there I saw a nine locomotive Conrail freight go by. Outsiders were not allowed to have a camera in the plant, but I sneaked one in and took these photos. This plant was one of the largest in the word, being self contained, with an electric plant, blast furnaces, and an auto plant and other facilities. In WW II the plant built Liberty Ships.
Aaron Angle They actually did not build liberty ships at the Rouge plant during WWII. They did however build Eagle Boats, which were submarine chasers, there in WWI. These are great photos. Thanks for posting them.

John Abbott posted
River Rouge Ford Plant 1930's

3D Satellite
A time-lapse video of the Herbet C. Jackson being pulled out of the Ford slip and then going down the Rouge River until it gets into the Detroit River.

Kevin Pollock shared a SkyLit photo with the comment: "Patricia Hoey bunkering the Kaye E. Barker last night as she finishes offloading iron ore at AK Steel."
Ron Hawkins Bunkering is the act of fueling a vessel, perhaps from the days of coal when it was stored in a 'bunker'. The barge is what the fuel oil is carried in, the tug merely pushes it around. When the switch from coal to 'heavy' oil was done, this heavy fuel oi was called 'Bunker C', or sometimes '#6 fuel oil'
Nancy Schrader Keith It's a gorgeous night shot of the freighter, Kaye E Barker sitting by the dock at AK Steel (the River Rouge complex near Dearborn), finishing being refueled thanks to the fuel barge City of Detroit, which is being guided into correct positions by the tug, Patricia Hoey. Think I have it now...

Alec Gills posted
Ford Steel Division (Rouge Steel) back in the 70’s...
Howard Harwood I remember pouring ingots

Robert Preis posted two photos with the comment: "Rouge Steel - Powerhouse Stack & Coke Ovens Demolition - Summer 2004."
Michael Miller I always thought that power plant looked so cool.
Scott Noble It did until it blew up.
Johan Gillies Heins R.I.H. 21 years ago, In Everlasting Remembrance of 6 of my ‘co-workers’ who perished that cold February day. 01-Feb-1999
https://www.freep.com/.../ford-rouge-power.../2731695002/
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Alan Etoll posted
[A summary of the comments: C-Furnace AK Steel Dearborn Works, formerly Ford Steel Division.]

Screenshot
AK steel Dearborn works, ore bridge crane demo 9-22-2017
What the hell is going on there? No more blast furnace production?
Viktor Mácha
 no.. that ore bridge got Demi’s beacause it got destroyed from a strong wind storm. There is another one if you look to the left.

Nagi Nasser posted
[The comments indicate it is being put back in service. I assume it was shut down for Covid-19.]
Bubba Dubs This is AK Dearborn/Rouge, Former Severatal, former Rouge steel.
Brian Stevens John Orlando the plant was government subsidized during WWII for Republic Steel and made large gun barrel. Ford obviously bought it the late forties and ran a Forging Plant there. The ESOP, the employee buyout of LTV's Bar Division, purchased the building for a continuous caster. The history between Ford, Republic and Canton, Ohio runs a little deeper.

Scott Marlow posted twelve photos with the comment: "More....."  (I believe this was his first set of photos that he posted.)
Is the hot strip at Dearborn down forever? I used to deal with AK when it was Armco and supervised contract work at Middletown No.3, Hamilton Blast Furnaces and Amanda and Bellefonte at Ashland. I understand Cleveland-Cliffs has no plans to ever start Amanda again so I guess it is the wrecking ball for her. I never could understand why AK closed the hot strip in Ashland and only sent slabs to Middletown like they are doing to Dearborn. I know the tonnage on Middletown No.3 has been increased. I can't imagine the Middletown Hot Strip rolling more than 10,000 tons per day. It seems that both blast furnaces are capable of making much more than that so running them slow increases costs, even with smaller tuyeres and then the transportation costs by rail make the slabs expensive. I can see why AK and now Cleveland-Cliffs stock is so low....
Author
HSM Dearborn no longer functioning.
We use to send over 200 slabs per shift into the HSM! I still can’t believe it was shut down! Another sad day for Steelworkers!
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Mighty Rouge’s Ford Steel Division HSM.... I was the first woman to work that Building, 1978. A lot of pro’s and con’s, but I was a ‘smooth operator’ in every crane in there!

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That pots got some crack

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The Big Kline

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That’s a problem

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68' Oxygen Lance
it's fun when you blow a hole in it and all the cooling water drains into the vessel...
Oxygen Furnace is a crazy place to work, especially in the ingot days! Oh yeah!

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Jason Dodson posted, cropped
Wet charge at the BOF
[The comments indicate this was at the Rouge. I think a wet charge means there was water in the scrap metal container. When the water hits the iron in theBOF, you get instant steam. Steam expands explosively.]
Beau coup dust from the rafters, too!
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Really that’s from a wet charge? Man I’ve looked down the barrel of a wet charge it’s intense but never saw the cloud outside of one lol
Author
Chris Cox
 oh yea we were probably 3/4 of a mile away and felt the percussion it was a big one. One of the other guys I work with had gotten hold of the video from outside the door it blew molten iron pretty far outside the building too. Glad no one was injured.
The real big boy was the burn thru into the trunnion. Talk about a wet charge.
Since it's AK Steel you know someone is getting fired for this. Someone has to hang.

Shane Pappas posted nine photos with the comment: "Tearing down and rebuild of brand new furnace, think we did it in 05 or 06 its been so long g ago now. Old furnace to brand new working work 94 days!"
David Bandel: SeverStal, 2007. It was a great project.
Shane Pappas: The pic with the crane lifting the 3 story section was the largest lift at the time that crane had ever dont was if I remember it was like 1.6 mil pounds, was enough to lift all that trailing counter weights off the ground. Hard to tell from pics but the tires on the counter weights are like 15ft tall too. It was a monster crane.
Justin Snyder: Big crane is a Manitowoc 21000 with Maxxer wagon.
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Scott Marlow commented on Aaron's post

Aaron Payne commented on Shane's post
[Note that the wheels of the Maxxer Wagon are off the ground. This is normal for a 21000 doing a heavy lift. But it does mean it is doing a heavy lift.]

Aaron Payne commented on Shane's post
little burp

Aaron Payne commented on Shane's post
B furnace mishap just after we built them C furnace. That thing was ready to pop for years before it did.
Shane Pappas: Yeah man u could see inside the whole furnace that thing had so many cracks in the shell. Belive they said that's what cause explosion that it burned all the oxygen out of the water and left a huge hydrogen pocket that became a bomb.

Aaron Payne posted
1,000,049 lbs stack section going up on a 97 day total rebuild from demo to ground up. 2007 Rouge Steel, Detroit MI.
Henry Fords third blast furnace. The last and only still chugging iron out today out of three they had.
Mark Goodrich: 21000 Manitowoc [I thought so because it has eight crawler tracks.]
Jesse Linklater: That crane is currently replacing the steam generators where I work now at Bruce Nuclear.
Brian Olson: Probably the last blast furnace that will ever be built in the US.

Scott Marlow commented on Aaron's post
Same crane as the poster....

Matthew Gilbert posted
BOF and Caster at the Rouge with Detroit in the background. [drone]

Matthew Gilbert posted
Found this picture of #2 tandem mill at the Rouge in the Cold Mill offices.
Rick Kusbel: Same vintage as the Gary works 5 stand. Housings, chocks, and entry princh roll arrangement all look the same.
Thomas Izzo: crane operator Stanley king could pulled off a general roll change in 18 minutes . Hold the cables, then stand back and watch him go.
Ray Kankoski: Did you ever see the old picture of the 8-2 hot strip mill with the standing by each roll stand making adjustments while the strip was going thru ? [I've been wondering how the old mills were controlled.]
Tom Lareau: Not a single hardhat in that picture.
Michael Matisko
Mesta mills encountered in my time with Alcoa:
Warrick #4 Cold Mill (6 stand, 60 inch wide)
Davenport Reversing Hot Mills (144 inch and 160 inch wide)
Davenport 5-stand Hot Mill (100 inch wide)—replaced by SMS mill of same configuration/width early 1990s
Wm R. LaDow commented on Matthew's post

Scott Marlow commented on Matthew's post
same mills - Severstal era.....

Marty Bernard posted three photos with the comment:
3 Ford Motor Car Co. Train Pictures
Duane Hall took these three photos in sequence.  There are no other similar slides, location is unknown, and the date on the slides is September 1978.
Of what are the first two slides?
The switchers are S4 10012 built 1948, S2 10013 built 1954, and SW1001 10022 built 1975, according to Diesel Shop.  Basically what are/were they used for?
Karl Swartz: Interesting photographs. The first two are a bottle car (for molten metal) and slag car, respectively.
As for the locomotives, you swapped S2 and S4, i.e., 10013 is an S2 (not S4), etc.
Marty Bernard: Karl Swartz Is the Diesel Shop roster wrong? I thought it was weird too.
Karl Swartz: Marty Bernard, if that’s what their roster says then yes, it’s wrong. Just look at the trucks: the only difference between the two models is that an S-2 has Blunt trucks like (10013) whilst an S-4 has AAR Type A trucks (like 10014).
Alco made a clean switch from Blunt to Type A so the dates also don’t make sense unless you swap models. With that change, they are plausible, but I didn’t research the details to see if they match production timeframes of those models.
Mel Baggett: They transferred from our blast furnaces to our BOF. But the Ford railroad services the overall Rouge complex.
Richard Custer: Bottle car is parked at entrance of pig cast with Dearborn assembly in background.
Craig Ealey: The S2 10013 was built in 1948. That unit has the blunt truck which was discontinued in 1950 therefore it couldn’t have been built in 1954 the S4 was probably the 1954 build date as it has the AAR truck.

Marty Bernard shared
John Sporik: These were called hot metal subs and the other were ladle bowls. I worked at Bethlehem Steel.
[There are some comments about million pound open ladles that carried molten steel from Middletown, OH, to Hamilton, OH. A bridge was built exceptionally strong to handle those cars.]

Ray Schloss shared
Derrick Jasper: 3rd picture is looking south at the 3 blast furnaces at Ford Motor Company Rouge Complex. Not sure of date but it appears it’s pre 1986 as it appears all 3 furnaces are in use.
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Robert C Hecker Sr.Doug Majka: Riveted construction so it must be an oldie, but probably overbuilt way back then to last forever.

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Richard Custer: Second picture where you see the slag pot is at the entrance of the pig cast. They take the slag and make pellets. They also repair pots and treadwells in that building.
Robert Preis: Richard Custer what’s the Building with the smokestacks in the background? In the maps of the Complex that I have from that time period, it only shows the Rouge Office Building to the East?
Richard Custer: Robert Preis dearborn assembly plant.
Robert Preis: Ok, I was thinking this was looking East but it’s looking West. Derrick Jasper that explains it… So the 2nd & 3rd pictures were probably taken from the same spot. He just looked south for one and a little behind him for the other.

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Richard Custer: .c furnace is 365 feet high was the second highest building in the rouge. Glass plant was tallest. Warched the city burn from the top of glass plant in 1967.

David Adam commented on Marty's share
The small open top cars are slag cars. They are taken to a slag dump which can be especially impressive at night. The bottle or torpedo cars hold the molten metal for the foundry. The switchers do all of the car moves. The mill can be seen behind the locos.

Comments on Ray's share

Robert's diagram

Kyle Lang posted six photos with the comment: "Pictures from the breech of B-Furnace at the Rouge plant in Dearborn Michigan (Severstal owned at the time), circa 2008."
Jeff Butcher: Ravi Eh that's a stack breakout. Caused by loss of cooling for a long period of time or you lose the refractory inside the furnace stack.
Ted Fortier: Downtown was permanent. Only the stoves stand today with pilings for a new furnace.
Jason Stevens: It was a bad day. If I remember correctly no one got hurt. That was a miracle in its self.
Scott Noble: Jason Stevens The person driving in the van got hurt I believe he lost a finger he was driving down the road at the time of Explosion he worked for the water department he was contractor.
Kyle Lang: Pat McCon no one died in this explosion, which was around midnight on a weekend and between shifts I think.
Scott Noble: I work there for the fire department we had to drop off fire hoses all the time they used to hang them from the top of the furnace to cool the hot spots at night you could see all the hot spots.
Ran it for months with hotspots on it everybody knew it was a matter of time not the best safety department at the time.
Nathan Jay: Was the company fined or anything for it? Documented problems and no fix, crazy! Hopefully no one was injured/killed.
Scott Noble: Nathan Jay Big cover-up between management and safety department.
Donald Hall: Anyone injured ?
Joseph Whitman: Donald Hall only one person he was a outside contractor in that white van. Dummy pulled right in front of furnace after first explosion and a second happened and sent debris right at his van he ended up getting burned a little bit but I’m sure it was more of a lesson not to be so nosey and don’t ever park in front of something that blew up because you never know what will happen. Other then that we had a few supervisors lose their cars but no injuries. For myself and the other 2 workers we made it out alive but it’s something we’ll never forget.
Donald Hall: Joseph Whitman Can imagine ! Had moulds blow up a few times next to me on the pouring aisle. Lots of scars.
Chuck Francis: I remember that day. We religned that crinkly cracked up old girl just a few months before she finally gave up the furnace looked terrible from the inside.
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Scott Nobel commented on Kyle's post
Photo taken from gate 4.
 
1st of 4 photos posted by Andrew Dean Detroit
Mark W. Barker preparing to tie up for their first unload at Cliffs Dearborn yesterday.
Detroit / Dearborn, Michigan
Andrew Russell shared

William Opper posted two photos with the comment: "Hauling slag." 
[Some comments indicate this is Cleveland Cliffs in Dearborn, MI, and the furnace makes 12,500 tons of iron a day. It is a Levy pot hauler.]
Michael Swift: North side C furnace Cliffs Dearborn
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29:03 1960s video, (source) This is about the plant but does include the steel operation including the coke plant







1 comment:

  1. Cleveland Cliffs (CLF) has taken over the facility and I hope they do a good job with this famous American steel works and their well paid workforce.

    ReplyDelete